CHILD CUSTODY

Child Custody

WHITE PLAINS, NY LAWYER HELPS SOLVE CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES

Her background and experience benefit you

Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. has counseled New York families in child custody disputes since 1987. Before starting her private practice, she handled the prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases in Family Court. She also has a background, including an advanced degree, in social work. Ms. Abramson and her staff are committed to protecting your and your children’s interests as your family makes the difficult transition of divorce.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CUSTODY?

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In New York, there are two kinds of child custody — legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is a parent’s authority to participate in the major decisions on the child’s healthcare, education and upbringing. Physical custody, also known as residential custody, refers to the time the child is physically present with a parent.

New York divorce courts favor arrangements in which both parents maintain strong ties to the child. Consequently, joint legal custody is very common. As for physical custody; many courts find that it’s best for the child to have a single, stable home base, so they often award primary physical custody to one parent and generous visitation to the other parent, including overnight visits. The exception is when the court determines that unsupervised visitation with a parent is not advisable because that parent has a history of domestic violence, criminality or drug addiction.

MULTIPLE FACTORS DETERMINE CUSTODY DECISIONS
Judges weigh many factors when determining what sort of custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child, including:

• Which parent has been the child’s primary caregiver
• The parenting skills of each parent, including the ability to provide for the child’s special needs, if any
• The mental and physical health of the parents
• If there is a history of domestic violence
• Work schedules and childcare plans of each parent
• The child’s relationships with siblings
• The child’s wishes, depending on the child’s maturity
• The ability of each parent to cooperate with the other parent and encourage a relationship with the other parent

Mediation and collaborative law are often fruitful alternatives to litigation in child custody disputes. White Plains, NY lawyer Lauren B. Abramson is trained in mediation and collaborative law methods, which can encourage continued cooperation between the parents after a divorce. When these alternative methods don’t work, however, Ms. Abramson is a powerful advocate for her clients in court. About 80 percent of her practice is devoted to litigation.
DO MOTHERS AND FATHERS HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS?

Under New York law, a court cannot favor either gender in custody decisions. Lauren B. Abramson is a strong advocate for fathers’ rights and works toward the goal of equal parenting time for each parent. We also seek visitation time for grandparents who meet the requirements of the New York Domestic Relations Law.
DOES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AFFECT CUSTODY?
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New York law requires courts to consider domestic violence by either parent when making decisions regarding custody, custody modifications or visitation. Whether the domestic violence was an isolated incident or part of a pattern of behavior, the court views it negatively when determining child custody and visitation. When a parent has a record of abuse, the court can order no visitation, supervised visitation or an arrangement in which the noncustodial parent picks up and drops off the child at a safe spot such as the local police precinct.

NEW YORK ATTORNEY RECOGNIZES THAT A CHILD NEEDS BOTH PARENTS
Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. understands that children benefit when both parents remain involved in their lives. We represent fathers as well as mothers in securing plenty of parenting time so both parents can maintain healthy relationships with their children. Under New York law, fathers have as much right to their children as mothers. We believe strongly in fathers’ rights, and we advocate for shared custody when appropriate.
MOTHERS AND FATHERS HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW

Courts must consider a number of factors in determining what custody arrangement is in the best interest of your child, but a parent’s gender isn’t one of those factors. Under New York law, neither parent should be given preference based on gender. Nevertheless, a recent study of a wide range of jurisdictions by researchers at Arizona State University found that mothers receive primary residential custody 68 to 88 percent of the time, fathers receive primary custody 8 to 14 percent of the time, and equal residential custody is awarded in only 2 to 6 percent of divorces.

The attorney and staff at the offices of Lauren B. Abramson believe fathers and mothers should have a level playing field. We work closely with fathers to present powerful cases to the court in support of fathers’ rights and fair custody determinations.
FATHERS CAN WIN CUSTODY DISPUTES
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Fathers often ask how they can increase their chances of getting custody of their children. Under New York law, courts must consider many factors when deciding who gets custody. The courts do, however, favor whichever parent has been the child’s primary caretaker. Some factors a father can highlight to demonstrate that he has been the child’s primary caretaker include that evidence that he is the parent who regularly:

• Arranges the child’s medical appointments
• Cares for the child during illnesses
• Gets the child ready for school
• Transports the child to and from school
• Helps the child with homework
• Arranges the child’s extracurricular activities
• Feeds the child
• Takes the child shopping for clothes, school supplies and other necessities
• Takes the child to church, synagogue, mosque or other religious institution

A father seeking custody also can persuade the court that his parenting skills and ability to provide for the child’s special needs, if any, are substantially superior to the mother’s. Evidence to support that position can include:

• Differences in mental and physical health of the parents
• The mother’s record of domestic violence or child abuse
• The flexibility of the father’s work schedule
• The strength of the bond between father and child
• The child’s wishes, if the child is mature enough to have a reasoned opinion
• The stability of his home environment
• His family-friendly lifestyle
• His willingness to foster the child’s relationship with the mother, if appropriate
CHILDREN CAN BENEFIT FROM MULTIGENERATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Grandparents’ relationships with their grandchildren are often among the casualties of a divorce. Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. recognizes the benefits children receive from loving relationships with their grandparents. Grandparents’ desire for visitation with their grandchildren leads to disputes when one or both of the parents oppose the visits. 
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CAN I GET CUSTODY OR VISITATION WITH MY GRANDCHILD IN NEW YORK? 
The U.S. Supreme Court in June 2000 issued a six-three decision in Troxel v. Granville that struck down a state law that had allowed courts to grant visitation to any interested party so long as the visits were in the best interest of the child, even if the parents objected.

The facts of the case were these: Brad Troxel committed suicide, leaving behind two daughters and their mother, Tommie Granville. Troxel’s parents kept visiting their grandchildren after the suicide. However when Granville remarried and her new husband adopted the two girls, Granville restricted the grandparents’ visits.

The grandparents went to court, arguing that under their state’s visitation law, they had the right to visit the girls so long as it was in their best interest. The trial judge agreed. The U.S. Supreme Court; however, ruled that the law violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it failed to provide any protection for Granville’s fundamental right to make decisions concerning the rearing of her own daughters.

CALL A WESTCHESTER COUNTY CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER TODAY
Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. works with you to pursue the outcome that best meets your needs and the needs of your children. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with weekend and evening appointments available as needed. Call us today at 914-908-5877 or contact us online to arrange a meeting. We serve individuals and families throughout Westchester and Putnam counties, including White Plains, NY; Harrison, NY; New Rochelle; Bedford; Armonk; Bronxville; Larchmont; Mamaroneck; Somers; Croton-on-Hudson; Carmel; Peekskill; and Rye, NY.
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